“Life is busy, but overall, it’s pretty good. My job is going well. Kids are great. My marriage is pretty much dead.“
He said those ominous words, “…my marriage is pretty much dead,” without changing his tone or his expression in between bites of chips and salsa. I was meeting my friend for a long overdue lunch to catch up. We’re both in the same busy season of life trying to juggle careers, young kids, marriage and all the other stuff life at full speed can throw your way. I was taken back by the bluntness of his statement about his marriage, but I was also startled by how matter-of-fact and emotionless he seemed.
After some awkward, probing follow-up questions, he offered a bit more commentary on the situation. He explained that the marriage had (in his perspective) never been great, but in recent years it had descended into a downward spiral leaving him feeling hopeless that it would ever improve. They had tried counseling, but despite their efforts to find new beginnings, old habits, hangups and heartaches seemed to create a chasm of irreconcilable differences.Over the years, he and his wife had devolved from desperation, to frustration to apathy. Now, they seemed to be little more than disconnected roommates co-existing for the sake of sharing household duties and parental responsibilities. They’re still legally married, but they’re no longer real friends, lovers or even spouses (by any practical standard other than the legal document still binding them together).
They rarely argue anymore, but it’s not because there is real peace or partnership; they’re simply too tired, so they settle for the illusion of peace, because the real thing seems impossible. Their hopes for anything more seem to be as distant a memory as their wedding day. Had it not been for their deeply-ingrained religious convictions about divorce, they would have most likely divorced long ago.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?